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World  (tags: Lebanon, people, places, travel )

- 1529 days ago -
Lebanon has enjoyed a rich Middle Eastern history. The oldest documented, continuously inhabited city in the world is Byblos found in Lebanon.

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Frans Badenhorst (582)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:31 am
amazing discoveries - as always - thanks for this trip Kit ♥

Kit B (276)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:32 am
Map of Lebanon

Lebanon has enjoyed a rich Middle Eastern history. The oldest documented, continuously inhabited city in the world is Byblos found in Lebanon. Artifacts dated to before 5,000 BC have been unearthed. Over 7000 years ago Neolithic man fished on the Mediterranean Ocean that is now Lebanon. The Phoenician's came from here. They were a culturally and militarily advanced society for over 2,500 years. The capital city of Beirut and been overrun 17 times by differing groups, nationalities and religions. Here are five unique facts about Lebanon you may not have known.

--5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) No desert exists in Lebanon. Lebanon is the only Asian Middle Eastern or African country that does not have a desert within its borders. There are, however, 17 rivers that originate from the mountains they originate from.

2) The country is a political enigma. Democracy has been the existing political system since 1926. It is the only Middle Eastern country that is not dictatorial. The current president is Michel Suleiman.

3) Lebanon has the highest per cent of Christians in population of all of the Middle East. It is said Jesus visited the region and performed his first miracle there; turning water into wine. Before the civil war in Lebanon, the Christian population was estimated to be about 70 percent. Today it is about 40 percent.

4) Byblos is not only the oldest inhabited city in the world but the first Latin alphabet was invented there by Cadmus. References to the early Phoenician alphabet are found in Egyptian glyphs dating to 1850 BC. The word 'Bible' is derived from this city.

5) The only remaining temple dedicated to Jupiter, the primary Roman deity is in Lebanon. Relics from Roman occupation, the pillars are the tallest Roman columns in the world. Found in modern day Baalgad, the city was originally known as Heliopolis.

History and Culture -

Loubnan derives from the Phoenician for "white mountain" and denotes Lebanon's mountains, some parts of which remain snow-covered all year.

Location and Geography.
Lebanon is bounded on the north and east by Syria, on the west by the Mediterranean, and on the south by Israel.

Lebanon consists of two mountain chains, the Lebanon and the ante-Lebanon; a narrow coastal strip, where all the major cities lie; and a fertile plain, the Bekaa valley, which lies between the two mountain chains and provides most of the local agricultural produce.

The capital, Beirut, was chosen for its ideal location on the Mediterranean and acts as the heart of Lebanon's banking industry, tourism, and trade.

Emergence of the Nation. The first cities to emerge in Lebanon were built by a maritime people, the Phoenicians, who determined the cultural landscape of the country from about 2500 to 400 B.C.E. and absorbed aspects of the many other cultures around them. The Phoenicians are celebrated today in the government-supervised history books as the inventors of the alphabet and as the symbol of Lebanon's golden past.

In the medieval period, Christian minorities often helped the Crusaders. This created a close relationship between Lebanese Christians, particularly the Maronites, and Europe, particularly France. These ties persisted and grew stronger, especially in the eighteenth century, and were a major factor in the creation of the modern Lebanon.

After World War II, Lebanon was placed under French mandate. Later, France gave Lebanon a parliamentary system and, for the first time in the Middle East, created a nation where Christians had a strong political presence: each government office was apportioned to a representative of the country's main sects, with the presidency reserved for the Maronite Christians. The privileging of Christians in governmental positions was one of the main reasons for the civil war, when the population percentage shifted in favor of the Muslims.

Ethnic Relations.
There is a feeling today that most Lebanese are tired of the war and are trying to put their differences behind them as they reconstruct their country, which is currently under Syrian hegemony.

Lebanese are present throughout the world. Since they have always been at the border between East and West, they often blend easily with the societies to which they migrate.

Food in Daily Life.
Lebanese cuisine is Mediterranean. Pita bread is a staple. The Lebanese enjoy hummus (a chick pea dip), fool (a fava bean dip), and other bean dishes. Rice is nearly a staple, and pasta is very popular. Salted yogurt is common in many dishes. Red meat and chicken are common but are usually eaten as part of a dish. Pork is less popular, since it is forbidden under Islamic law.

Eating in Lebanon is tied to family: people almost never eat alone. The Lebanese consider eating out a social and almost aesthetic experience. Hence, restaurants usually have a pleasant view, of which Lebanon's geography affords many.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, is the occasion for large meals at sundown. Soup, fatteh (a chick pea and yogurt dish), and karbooj (a nut-rich pastry) are especially eaten during Ramadan.

During Lent, Christians eat meatless dishes and at Barbara (Halloween) they eat a variety of wheat-based dishes.

Basic Economy. Although Lebanon produces and exports much of its agricultural produce, it still imports much of what its inhabitants consume, such as rice and some vegetables. Since most people live in city apartments, the only Lebanese who grow their own food live in mountain villages and some coastal towns.

Lebanon is a democratic republic with a parliament, a cabinet, and a president, although power is divided along religious lines. The President (a Maronite Catholic), who lost part of his executive power after the war, is the head of state; the Prime Minister (a Sunni Muslim) is the head of government and chairs the Cabinet; the Speaker of the House (a Shiite Muslim) presides over Parliament, which passes the Cabinet's bills and elects the President.

Leadership and Political Officials.
There is much nepotism in Lebanon. However, the political spectrum is very wide: Lebanon boasts a strong communist party, the Syrian Nationalist Party, and the last Phalange party is still in existence.

Each party has its own newspaper and, at least during the civil war, its own television station.

Religious Beliefs.
Most people in Lebanon are religious and monotheistic. Lebanon is made up of Muslim and Christian sects which escaped persecution throughout history by seeking shelter in its mountains. No one religion is dominant. The country has Muslim Shiites, Sunnis, Druzes and Christian Maronites, and Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox.

Medicine and Health Care

Health care is highly developed in Lebanon. Very little belief in the efficacy of traditional medicine remains. Lebanon has more doctors than it actually needs, and hospitals are constantly trying to modernize.

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Nicole W (646)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:35 am
always a delightful excursion with you dear Kit

Kit B (276)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:35 am

There many things that make this another interesting stop on our travels. There is still political turmoil and that is acknowledged in the above descriptions I do have some friends that still go "home" to visit and have little fear during their visits.

Past Member (0)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:45 am
For sure it worth a visit. But not yet...
Thank you for the trip Miss Kit :)

Past Member (0)
Monday May 12, 2014, 8:11 am
A country which i've always wanted to visit tho these days not so sure anymore. It's a fascinating country blessed with incredible history. Thx Kit

Bob P (394)
Monday May 12, 2014, 9:20 am
Thanks Kit

Pat B (356)
Monday May 12, 2014, 2:57 pm
I enjoyed seeing the very tall Roman columns, and the rock formations. I also liked the churches/mosques, beaches, and the listing of the foods, sounds yummy. Well worth viewing, very, very nice. Thanks, Kit for our trip today.

Barbara K (62)
Monday May 12, 2014, 3:17 pm
Thank you for the beautiful vacation by computer, my friend. Had no idea it was so beautiful there.

Rose Becke (141)
Monday May 12, 2014, 7:54 pm
How wonderful thanks Kit

Past Member (0)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 3:13 am

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 5:07 am

JL A (281)
Tuesday May 13, 2014, 6:40 pm
I can't think of Lebanon without thinking of the famous cedars--glad the video gave us glimpses.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 12:48 am
I would love to see the gardens and the forests. We have had some wonderful Lebanese restaurants in our neighborhood in Chicago.

John De Avalon (36)
Thursday May 15, 2014, 3:05 pm
Thank you, dear Kit.
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